Cold Case Killer Profile by Jessica R. Patch

Cold Case Killer Profile by Jessica R. Patch
Quantico Profilers, Book 2
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

The desert can hide many secrets…including murder.

Searching for the perfect morning landscape to paint leads forensic artist Brigitte Linsey straight to a dead body—and a narrow escape from the Sunrise Serial Killer still on the scene. Now she’s become unfinished business and new prey. Working with FBI special agent Duke Jericho could mean putting the murderer away for good. However, it’s just a matter of time before this diabolically clever predator turns his hunters into the hunted…

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

I didn’t realize it was book two of three in the Quantico Profilers series until I finished it. It’s safe to say that it can be read as a standalone.

I’m not new to reading suspense/murder/mystery romances but I can say this was my first inspirational one. Surprisingly, the author made it work. Cold Case Killer Profile really was filled with “Courage, Danger and Faith”.

This is my first Jessica R. Patch book and it’s safe to say that it won’t be my last. I was engaged from the first chapter to the last. I couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out who the “Sunrise Serial Killer” was. There were many suspects in my mind. This story was filled with plot twists and unpredictable outcomes.

The heroine, Brigitte was a strong, independent character with some vulnerable moments which were justified.

The hero, Duke, was dream worthy. I loved how he protected Brigitte and was there to save the day. The chemistry between them was sweet. They were attracted to each other, but they were a little bit busy trying to stay alive. Fortunately, they had faith to keep them strong.

This book was an entertaining read. Happy Reading!

Paws For Christmas by Anna Swann

Paws For Christmas by Anna Swann
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Emily Saint-Claire has one Christmas wish: to take a few weeks off from her demanding job as co-CEO of Bow-Wow Enterprises, an international nonprofit organization that matches rescue dogs with people who need rescuing. She is just hours away from hopping into the car with her pup, Gracie, and driving to her parents’ home in the mountains when a series of disasters strike.

First, a text from her ex. Next, a humiliating TV interview, in which she tearfully reveals she wants a new job. And the worst blow of all: A surprise work assignment that will take her to the picturesque country of Marisol to cover the prestigious Royal International Canine Invitation dog show. Yes, it’s a dream assignment, but she’s exhausted and homesick.

Emily cancels her vacation plans and reluctantly flies to Marisol, convinced Christmas is ruined. But is it?

When she meets a disheveled stranger, she assumes he’s a freelance photographer. Wrong. He’s the prince of Marisol. Emily is beyond embarrassed, but the prince is intrigued and extends a gracious apology—she must be his guest at the palace, where she can work without interruption.

Yet, instead of peace and quiet, Emily finds happy chaos, thanks to frequent visits by the widowed prince’s two curious children and their shoe-munching dog. Increasingly, she finds herself anticipating their visits. And increasingly, she finds herself attracted to Prince Alexander, who shares her love for animals. In a season of surprises, Emily learns that love comes when we least expect it.

This was a really cute book. I was in the mood to read a Christmas story in the summer heat and this one satisfied my craving. While the synopsis reveals most of the story it’s still worth the time to read the story in action. The effort that was put forward in developing the cast of characters was impressive.

The reader is presented with the opportunity to get to know the heroine, Emily, long before the hero, Alexander is ever introduced. Emily is a woman who works too hard and wants more than just work in her life. A reality all too real for many women in today’s world. It’s a struggle to find that happy balance. I bonded with Emily immediately as we share a love for dogs.

I got a giggle when Emily did finally meet Alexander in a mistaken identity scene. It was a pleasure to turn the pages as their romance budded and bloomed until the last page with a happily-ever-after love.

Alexander was kind, generous and compassionate. It was relaxing to read his pursuit of Emily. Together they were entertaining especially when Emily was learning to dance. The chemistry between them was sensual and irresistible.

This was my first Anna Swann romance book, and I would consider another book by her. I treasured the inspirational message that was threaded through out the story that “sometimes life’s biggest disappointments lead to its greatest joys.” Anna Swann wrote that quote in her “Dear Reader” note in the beginning of the story. It makes me think of Garth Brooks’ song “Unanswered Prayers” where he sings “Cuz some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”.

Paws for Christmas left me feeling full of hope and joy. Definitely pick this book up if you are craving a holiday romance.

The Heat Is On: An Anthology by Jill Shalvis, Natalie Anderson

The Heat Is On: An Anthology by Jill Shalvis, Natalie Anderson
Publisher: Harlequin Bestselling Author Collection
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Catching Fire

Bella Manchelli didn’t stick, not to places, or to people. Even though she liked the coastal town of Santa Rey, California, and her job as a pastry chef, she never made promises and she never got hurt. So when she signed up for Eight Dates in Eight Days, it was just for fun. And when she went home with Date Eight, she crept out of his room in the morning and never expected to see him again.

Until she found a body on her doorstop. The detective on the case? None other than Mr. Date Eight—Jacob Madden. Bella was glad to see him, because there was definitely chemistry between them. She felt safe and protected with Jacob, and for the first time Bella felt at home. But he wasn’t looking for forever…and they both knew the killer wasn’t finished.

The Heat Is On by Jill Shalvis

First, let me explain how I got my hands on this really awesome read. It’s rather a big deal for me. I was at a library that offers books via the honor system. I had five seconds to pick a book. In those few seconds Jill Shalvis’ name jumped out at me, the book cover had a smiling couple embracing on a beach, smiling at each other, wearing two of my favorite colors; I saw the Harlequin symbol and the title, “The Heat Is On” which triggered a memory of that song by Glen Fry, which prompted me to start singing it. In five seconds, I broke tradition by grabbing it without reading the synopsis! If you’ve read any of my reviews, then you know that is a shock to my system. I always choose a book based on the synopsis.

I started reading while I was at a swim team practice, sitting on metal bleachers surrounded by parents, in the hot sun. You could say the heat was really on! It certainly was in the story right from the get-go. From the first paragraph, “Oh, yeah baby, that’s good,” she whispered. So good that she wanted more. She couldn’t help herself; she’d never been known for having much self-control.” See what I mean? But the second paragraph set the hook, “Not when it came to chocolate. Isabella Manchelli loved desserts, all of them.” I busted out laughing, embarrassing myself and I didn’t care. That was the moment when I fell in love with this book and the heroine, Isabella. She was a character after my own heart. I’m obsessed with chocolate.

The cast of characters are well developed and relatable making the story come to life. Bella finds the first dead body on page six. I went from chocolate coma to the edge of my seat pretty quick. I didn’t want to put the book down at the end of swim practice. This was a fast-paced story that I couldn’t get enough of. I did guess who the killer was, but I was never a hundred percent positive. The ending was breathtaking and sigh-worthy.

Oh, I did get a chance to read the synopsis, it hooked me. It sounded like the perfect murder mystery romance book. I considered the plot to be realistic and original. Isabella signed up to participate in the local recreation center’s singles club’s, “eight dates in eight days”. I fell in love with “Mr. Date Eight-Jacob Madden”, the hero, right along with Isabella aka Bella. The chemistry between them was instant, intense and heat inducing. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to pick this book up in five seconds. The best part is that it has a bonus book!

The next story is called “Blame it on the Bikini” by Natalie Anderson. Now I know I’ve never read a book by her but I’m excited to start it. All the reader knows about it is that the heroine, Mya, sends a text to the wrong person by accident. Who hasn’t done that? I know I have.

Blame it on the Bikini by Natalie Anderson

The story starts right away with Mya texting the picture to the wrong person which immediately caught my interest in the story. The pace was quick and fun as I read along. There were humorous moments throughout the book that I enjoyed.

The story uses the trope of a hero rich in money but poor in love and affection from his family, and a heroine poor in finances but rich and surrounded by the love of her family. The heroine, Mya, was best friends with Brad’s sister Lauren, and Brad was clueless for years that Mya had a crush on him. He got a clue when he was the recipient of that wayward text.

The hero, Brad, has the emotional baggage of women only wanting him for his money and never seeing him as a person. The heroine, Mya, had a front row seat to his living the life of a playboy, so she doesn’t trust him. She also has her own issues of not wanting to be a charity case. Brad and Mya are both extremely independent, strong willed and smart. Considering how intelligent and educated they were, it amazed me that at the same time, they were both block heads. It was a long struggle for them to realize that it wasn’t just lust they were experiencing, but love. They were also slow to figure out that they could trust each other with their hearts.

The plot was cute and definitely contemporary. I enjoyed the story but I felt there could have been better verbal communication between Brad and Mya. It’s kind of funny because Brad and Mya were getting frustrated with each other. I wanted to tell them that I was frustrated with them too. Lord knows they had no issue communicating physically.

There were a few secondary characters, but they were minimally developed, the majority being hearsay as Mya and Brad shared their personal information. I got to meet both Brad and Mya’s parents, and of course, Mya’s best friend, Brad’s sister, Lauren. I also met Mya’s employers and co-workers.

The pace was quick and fun as I read along. There were even some truly funny moments. I was buckled in to see their HEA and I can say the ride was worth it. I’m happy for them. I would consider reading another Natalie Anderson book.

Overall, I enjoyed both stories. They are completely different from each other which was nice. I went from the edge of my seat to lounging on my couch. I’d recommend The Heat Is On: An Anthology without hesitation.

Unlock My Heart by Jennifer Wilck

Unlock My Heart by Jennifer Wilck
Scarred Hearts, Book Two
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Abby Marlow, computer security expert, lands a job at the best IT security firm in the country. Her sole focus is financial independence so she never has to rely on others again, especially a man. But why does her boss make her wires short circuit?

Ted Endicott, CEO and founder of the IT security firm, is hard of hearing. Although an expert in his field, he’s still uncomfortable admitting his hearing problem to clients or employees. So why is he willing to accept Abby’s help?

As Ted and Abby work together, barriers fall away, and the lines blur between colleagues and lovers. But a security glitch in a client’s system shows one of Ted’s employees is the hacker, and all signs point to Abby. Can they get past the suspicion and find a future together?

I had actually read book one in this series but it was a long time ago and I forgot. I’m forgetting a lot of things lately but I do recall clearly that I loved book one. Well, I just have to tell you that I loved book two as much as the first one if not more! I started Unlock My Heart and didn’t stop until I finished it.

In the section “A word about the author”…and I quote “Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong, and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with a happily ever after.” That statement is the perfect description of the type of books that I prefer to read and it’s accurate for Unlock My Heart. I couldn’t have said it any better.

Abby, the heroine, is definitely smart since she attains a job at the best IT security firm in the country. She’s determined to be financially independent and to make her parents proud.

The story starts with the hero, Ted. Right away his vulnerability is revealed in a way that I was curious to learn more about. Ted is definitely smart, handsome and available.

Ted actually owns the IT security firm that Abby is employed at. It’s pretty much love at first sight but filled with complications from the get-go. There is one plot twist after another making it impossible for me to stop reading. Obviously the first conflict is the fact that Ted was Abby’s boss. I could feel the chemistry between them that they professionally couldn’t act on. Let’s just say that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to reach the “barriers fall away, and the lines blur between colleagues and lovers.”

There are other characters in the plot line who are relevant to the success of this book such as Ted’s business partners. Ted’s college friends, Simon and Alexander, formed CAST to invest their money and use their wealth to help others.

The first book in the series was about Ted’s partner, Simon. I was thrilled that Simon made an appearance in book two. I hope Alexander and Caleb are considered as future heroes in this series. I want more and I don’t want to wait.

Jennifer Wilck has been on my “trusted favorite author” list for a while now. The Scarred Heart series is awesome. Unlock My Heart is going on my ‘Keeper’s shelf’ next to the first book, A Reckless Heart”. I hope other readers will love this book as much as I did.

The Texas Cowboy by Linda Nightingale

The Texas Cowboy by Linda Nightingale
Return to Folly Book 1
Publisher: Magnolia Blossom
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

When Ash Colter was twelve, his mother divorced his cattle baron father and whisked him away to raise in her native England. Sixteen years later, when his father dies, he inherits Marathon Ranch. Running a 1,000-acre spread famous for the best Black Angus cattle in the great state of Texas is the biggest challenge he’s ever faced…until he meets a pert, pretty, and sassy ranch hand who seems to have her own agenda for his ranch. Unfortunately, she makes his spurs go jingle-jangle-jingle like no one else ever has!

Trish Owens is a real cowgirl, a loner, and, though she’d never admit it, a little lonely. When the “English Cowboy” appears on the scene, her entire way of life is threatened, not only her job, but her beloved Quarter horses. She’s sure he plans to import his thoroughbred horses from England. Worst of all is the chemistry sizzling between them. He makes feelings she thought long dead awaken.

Can these two unwilling allies set aside their differences to put Marathon Ranch in the Winner’s Circle…and to fall in love?

The Texas Cowboy’s synopsis successfully piqued my interest. The story quickly captivated my curiosity as the narrative progressed smoothly with a steady stride. The characters were well developed, relatable and most were likable. The plot was creative, imaginable with some unexpected twists. This is book one in the Return to Folly series which can be read as a standalone.

The hero, Ash Colter, had an interesting upbringing that is mentioned in the synopsis. His history could have given him some adult baggage, but it didn’t. He was handsome, smart and confident. Ash was generous, caring and possessed a positive mind set.

Trish Owen, the heroine, was the perfect match for Ash. They both loved horses, the ranch and had the same long-term goals to make the ranch thrive in the future. Their relationship was entertaining, and their chemistry was sensual.

There was one character, Deanne, who added tense conflict in the story. The synopsis states that when Ash was twelve, his mother divorced his father. Ash’s dad remarried a woman named Deanne. Ash states “There’d always been, would always be, bad blood between them.” (Them as in Ash and Deanne). It’s my opinion that this conflict was resolved too easily considering the animosity between them. I wonder if there is a plan for Deanne to appear later in the series. If there ever is, her character left me feeling uncharitable and disinterested so I don’t think I’d read that one.

Overall, I enjoyed reading The Texas Cowboy. The romance between Ash and Trish was well worth my time. I enjoyed the setting where their love story evolved. Together, there is no doubt that they will make the ranch flourish.

Thankfully in Love, A Thanksgiving Anthology by Anna L. Stewart, Kayla Perrin, Melinda Curtis and Cari Lynn Webb

Thankfully in Love, A Thanksgiving Anthology by Anna L. Stewart, Kayla Perrin, Melinda Curtis and Cari Lynn Webb
Publisher: CAEZIK Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

USA Today bestselling romance authors come together for Thanksgiving to tell the stories of four women who have not had the best experiences with the men they have dated in their pasts. With the help of family and loved ones this holiday season, can they learn to open their hearts one more time? If they can dare to make the leap, they could find themselves finally, thankfully in love…

There’s no place like home, especially during Thanksgiving. After spending ten years as an officer and analyst with a special division in a federal cyber-investigation, Tripp Atsila is on the brink of burnout. He returns home and meets Parker Rutledge, who changed her name and moved to a small town hoping to leave the damage her ex-husband caused behind. Now someone’s found her; someone who wants to make her pay for her ex-husband’s crimes. Can she trust Tripp? Can she trust anyone?

Miranda Cox isn’t looking forward to heading home for Thanksgiving. She’d raved to everyone that Matthew was the one; now she has yet another failed relationship under her belt. Despite working as a translator in Ottawa, and loving traveling abroad, she’s thirty-four and still single. Little does she know that a chance encounter at Union Station in Toronto with her childhood friend, Taz Morrison, will lead to a very special holiday. Is it finally their time?

Chef Drew Barnett has been hired to create the perfect Thanksgiving for a potential restaurant investor and is forced to work in the client’s guesthouse kitchen due to a power outage in the main house. Jilted bride and food critic Claire Rothchild is pet-sitting a friend’s St. Bernard in the same guesthouse. Drew doesn’t know what to make of a food critic in his kitchen, just as Claire doesn’t know how to stop interfering with his dishes and passing tidbits to a mooching pooch. Is this a recipe for a Dog-Gone Holiday? Or for love?

Born with a degenerative eye disease, photographer Kelsey Thomas knows two things: she will be blind within five years and her family wants to see her married and settled first. Then Kelsey’s boyfriend breaks up with her one week before she planned to introduce him to her family at her grandmother’s island commitment ceremony. At the resort bar, she meets Dr. Noah Lawson. He spends his life inside his lab developing cutting-edge techniques to slow the progression of vision loss. He’s been offered funding with strings—save the eyesight of a relative of a wealthy investor—but he’s reluctant to agree. Noah is smitten by Kelsey—so much so that he agrees to be her fake wedding date for the Thanksgiving holidays. Too late, he realizes her connection to his potential investor. Is this a set-up? Or fate?

There are four stories in this one book. I traditionally avoid anthologies because I have a hard time writing reviews for them. However, I saw Anna J. Stewart was one of the authors and since she’s one of my favorites, I was compelled to break tradition.

Book one: No Place Like Home by Anna J. Stewart

I can testify that the first story was amazing. I read it super-fast and it kept me on the edge of my seat. The romance story is between Tripp Atsilla and Parker Rutledge. It’s the perfect damsel in distress scenario who is saved by a gorgeous hero. Tripp Atsilla comes from a wholesome family who all love and accept Parker as one of their own.

The suspense comes from those who put Parker in danger and Tripp is more than equipped to save the day. But how he does it is worth the read.

There were several plot twists that were unpredictable and the chemistry between Tripp and Parker was sensual and breathtaking. I really enjoyed the entertainment value and consider this story totally worth my time.

Book two: Second Chances by Kayla Perrin

Second Chances was quite enjoyable. This was my first book written by Kayla Perrin and I was pleased. This love story was between Taz and Miranda. The title of this story was appropriate since that is exactly what Taz and Miranda were all about. They knew each other in the past but the timing wasn’t right then. Years later they get a second chance to make the timing right and it’s a heartwarming story. Miranda’s family was wholesome and friendly. Taz’s mom was endearing. Everyone, including myself, was cheering for Miranda and Taz to give true love a chance. It was a great read.

Book three: Dog-Gone Holiday by Melinda Curtis

This was a cute story about second chances. This plot was very similar to book two. In this one, the hero, Drew, and the heroine, Claire, knew each other in their past but things didn’t work in their favor. Apparently, they were too young to communicate the first time and honestly, they each still have personal struggles to resolve including their shaky communication skills. They were reunited with the help of Claire’s sister and a talking dog. The personal conflicts they had to deal with were Drew’s struggles to open his own restaurant, and Claire being in the midst of a divorce settlement. The talking dog was far-fetched but can be accounted for saving my attention when the characters lost it. While I appreciated the attempt at creativity and originality, I wasn’t a huge fan of this one, especially since the previous story had a similar narrative. Still, it was cute.

Book four: Love Guides the Way by Cari Lynn Webb

I’m happy to say that Thankfully in Love / A Thanksgiving Anthology ended strong with the fourth and final book. The heroine, Kelsey, is a strong leading lady and she has to be because she is going through a health scare. The hero, Dr. Noah Lawson, is Dr. Mcdreamy and has the potential to possibly help Kelsey. Kelsey’s family is overpowering but in a loving way. I loved the setting where this story took place. I felt this was a heartwarming story to remind us that life is precious and to cherish every moment. The chemistry between Kelsey and Noah is sweet. I really liked reading this one.

Overall, I enjoyed the anthology. It was entertaining to read four stories about second chances, overcoming bad dating experiences, and love and/of family during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Each book is a complete standalone read. I always like to be exposed to new authors especially since each writer has their own style which is great because no two readers are the same. If you are curious, you can find detailed plot summaries for each story on Amazon.

I’d recommend this anthology if you’re in the mood to feel that wholesome Thanksgiving spirit.

A Pride of Brothers: Aiden by Peggy Jaeger

A Pride of Brothers: Aiden by Peggy Jaeger
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense/Mystery/Thriller
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Mistflower

Lexi Buckley wants answers about her younger sister’s death. The police have labeled it a suicide, but Lexi doesn’t believe it. Stymied in her investigation, she doesn’t know where to turn next. After a chance encounter with a private investigator, she thinks her prayers have been answered.

Aiden Keane has never been an answer to a prayer before, but he agrees to help Lexi. A quirky combo of brains and beauty, the pixie blonde makes him feel things no professional ever should for a client.

When their investigation puts Lexi’s life in jeopardy, her safety becomes his number one priority. The hard part is not falling for her.

I loved Pride of Brothers: Aiden so much that I’m going to have to find and read book one, A Pride of Brothers: Rick. Why? Because a higher power beyond my control is demanding me to find and read the first book, at least that is what I tell my husband. Ha, ha. I love Ms. Jaeger’s books. She’s on my favorite authors list.

I can’t believe my good fortune to be sucked into another great series quite so fast! The hero in this book is Aiden Keane. *sigh* Just thinking about him gives me goosebumps. Lexi Buckley, the heroine, was one lucky woman to have a “chance encounter” with Aiden. I believe he really was the answer to her prayers in more ways than one. I loved how Aiden “has never been an answer to a prayer before” but he agrees to help Lexi. That statement alone makes me smile. Aiden is the complete package. He’s a private investigator for goodness’ sake! I know I’d like his help in keeping me safe and, shall I say, ‘warm’.

Lexi was a hoot! I loved her. She had this hilarious unique characteristic that’s endearing. You’ll have to read the story to find out what I’m talking about. It’s an instrumental characteristic throughout the book and it made me laugh out loud numerous times. Aiden found it irresistible. Together Lexi and Aiden had me not only laughing, but on the edge of my seat as they investigated her younger sister’s death.

I haven’t read a romance/mystery/suspense/thriller in a very long time. I was on a historical romance binge for a while. I forgot what it was like to hyperventilate over a suspenseful scene. There are more plot twists in this story than I can shake a stick at. I loved every second. I consider the plot to be original, creative and riveting.

I originally rated this book as a 5 but the more I type, the more I realize that I can’t stop talking about it which gravitated me towards rating this as a Best Book. I mean, I didn’t even mention the dog yet. Aiden has a dog. Ya’ll, it’s not just a dog. You need to read the story. If the dog doesn’t win you over then surely Aiden and Lexi will.

Did I mention that Aiden owns his own investigating company with his brothers? Oh, his brothers sound delicious. Aiden’s brother, Rick, is the hero and that’s the reason why I have to read the first book in this series. I met him in this story, and I would love to know how/why he decided to no longer be a bachelor. I don’t know if there are more books coming in the series but I do know that if there are, then I’ll be reading them.

According to the author’s website, the author writes “about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.” That really resonated with me. I appreciate Ms. Jaeger’s style of writing and that is why she’s on my “favorite authors list”.

If you at all like suspense/romance/mystery thrillers with strong, gorgeous heroes and smart, stunning heroines that will take you somewhere without actually going anywhere, then pick up this book.

Dear Pink by Michelle Angelle

Dear Pink by Michelle Angelle
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Will an unexpected bucket list change Hannah and Gabe’s lives forever?

Hannah’s sleazy ex-boyfriend left her a hot mess. For years, she’s worked in the basement dungeon and has come to accept a life full of disappointments. That is until she receives a bucket list from her best friend.

Gabe’s Instagram-famous fiancé dumped him for a social media mogul. Shocked and heartbroken, Gabe decides he’s better off without a girlfriend until he runs into an adorable woman on a pink bike.

Will Hannah and Gabe be able to put aside their fears and let love into their lives again? A bucket list might just be the trick that gets them both back on track.

It’s not fair that I have to work instead of reading romance books all day. I just finished Dear Pink by Michelle Angelle and found out that this is book one of two in a series. I’ve never read a story by Ms. Angelle before, but I can enthusiastically say I LOVED it. I’m so passionately in love with what I just read that I simply have to read book two. I know I sound overzealous about Dear Pink, but even the book title has me feeling excited.

The plot is original and clever which is a major factor in my becoming enamored with this book. The paramount reasons that made this book so awesome include there being a prologue starting six years prior which captured my interest, the fast and steady pace kept my attention all the way through, and it ends with an epilogue six years later. I adore romance stories that come all wrapped up with a pretty bow like that.

I always appreciate when a synopsis doesn’t give away the entire plot of a story. The best gift an author can give me is a laugh or two within the story. The element of humor in a romance will seal the deal with me every time. I can’t remember the last book that had me chuckling while reading. Laughter is a major factor for me, and not enough romance books supply it.

The laughter came from the hero and heroine. Gabe is the best hero because he was strong and vulnerable. I love a sensitive, vulnerable yet strong hero. I relate to that type of hero the best. Hannah, the heroine, was more vulnerable in my opinion but has a ‘never give up’ attitude. Together they complete each other. Their weaknesses become their strengths. Hannah’s character has a sad characteristic but I’m not sharing what it is because it would be a spoiler. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life, yet the way the author presents it is heartwarming. I can’t say anything else about that plot thread involving Hannah.

One thing’s for sure. Gabe and Hannah surely “heat” up the bike path. It was a good thing I was icing an injury while reading because I needed the ice to cool me down. Ha, ha.

Both Gabe and Hannah’s vulnerabilities left their mindset with insecurities and fears to overcome. That made for an ‘on and off again’ relationship due to misunderstandings. I ate up that drama like a starving lunatic because I knew they’d see the light eventually. Their chemistry was undeniable. I knew their happily ever after was going to leave a huge ‘book glow’.

The cast of characters were well-developed and relatable. Most of the characters came from Hannah’s work and Gabe’s family. It’s my understanding that this book can be read as a standalone. However, I’m figuratively dying to read book two because it has one of Gabe’s sisters as the heroine. I don’t have the book in my possession yet but it’s only a matter of time before I do.

I highly suggest romance readers pick up their own copy of Dear Pink and get started so that they can also look forward to book two like me. I’m always told that reviewing a book is subjective but I honestly can’t imagine anyone not loving this book. It’s “pink-alicious”!

Sworn to Fly by Maria Imbalzano

Sworn to Fly by Maria Imbalzano
(Sworn Sisters Series) Book 3 of 3
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Risk-averse ER nurse, Alyssa Beckman, is about to lose her job because of yet another bad decision. In order to put her life back on track, she books a week at a rustic mountain resort to ponder her next steps and rejuvenate. But when she arrives, she learns she’s enrolled in boot camp, an adventure program far out of her comfort zone.

While there, she meets Gabriel Sutton, a world-travelling high-fashion photographer who is in danger of losing his clients as well as his status if he doesn’t start following the rules. While hiking, kayak racing, and participating in team challenges, sparks fly between Alyssa and Gabe as they encourage each other to take different life paths. But will those paths lead them farther apart or bring them closer together?

I had zero inclination that this book was part of a series until I started the review and discovered that it’s actually book three of the Sworn Sisters Series. That demonstrates to me that Sworn to Fly can clearly be read as a standalone. I have never read a book by the author, Maria Imbalzano but I can assure you that I’ll be looking for more of her books in the future. Specifically, I’ll be purchasing the first two in this series without a doubt. I chose this book because the synopsis captured my interest. Now that I have finished the story, I am pleased that the synopsis was only a highlight to spark my interest. I compare the synopsis to the top and bottom bread of a sandwich. The story is whatever your absolute favorite sandwich filling would be.

I usually conclude my reviews with a recommendation to read the book or put it on a keeper’s shelf etc. I’m actually compelled to make such a statement at this point, Sworn to Fly is a must read. It is my greatest pleasure to claim this romance book as a LASR Best Book.

The heroine, Alyssa Beckman was easily someone I could know in reality which made it extremely easy for me to relate to her. Alyssa was more than just a character in a book. It felt as if she could be my neighbor, co-worker, sister, or in this situation, my best friend. Alyssa has three best friends that I’d like to get to know better. Apparently, they each had their own story previously in the Sworn Sisters Series. If their story is anything as good as Alyssa’s story then I simply must read them.

The hero, Gabriel Sutton is the meat of the sandwich. That just made me laugh out loud. If he’s the meat, then Alyssa is all the other fixings and condiments. Together they complete each other and the sandwich. That’s actually an awesome analogy for them and all the other characters are the chips, cookie and drink. The entire story is a combo meal. I can keep going with this analogy when I think of the series as a restaurant. I want to go back and get two more combo meals, which are the first two books, and I hope they will be just as delicious.

Gabriel and Alyssa are funny, overly dramatic and have amazing chemistry. I enjoyed reading their time together in the rustic mountain resort. Together as a couple they took my breath away. I’d really love to see this book made into a movie and I’m not talking about a Hallmark movie. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I actually love my Christmas Hallmark movies. I’m saying that I think there is enough material to turn this into an award-winning movie in the theaters.

The writing in this story was vivid, engaging and entertaining. I was able to visualize what I was reading while feeling what the characters were feeling as if I was at the scene. The synopsis intrigued me, the first page captured me and the best part is that there was even an epilogue.

This romance story was not a drive through fast food restaurant where the meal is finished in ten minutes and wrappers tossed into a trash can. This was a sit-down fancy lunch diner, where I took my time to eat and a waitress served me. Every bite was delicious, leaving me with a satisfied belly. I hope this review encourages other readers to give it a try. It’s a great book to sink your teeth into.

Rock of Salvation by M.J. Schiller

Rock of Salvation by M.J. Schiller
Love and Chaos Series, Book 4
Publisher: Kissmet Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Jericho Tyler was comfortable in his role as the wild man of Just Short Of Chaos. Different gorgeous women throwing themselves at him every night? What self-respecting hetero male wouldn’t dream of that? But when Salvation steps out of his shower and into his life, things start to change.

Oh, yeah. I knew the second I saw her that she didn’t belong backstage. And she didn’t belong with a man like me, for sure. But I didn’t let that stop me from seeing just how far she was willing to go to keep up her little naughty girl charade. And if she had something to prove, why not prove it with me?

Salvation Jones was not like the rest of her family. In a parcel of toe-the-line, conservative preacher’s kids, she stood out like a piece of her costume jewelry at the Inaugural Ball.

I must have had a far-sighted stork reading the directions for my delivery. I was louder than they were. More boisterous. I got into more trouble. I’d heard, “Oh,Salvation,” in my mom’s disappointed voice for so long I began to think the O stood for Olivia, or something. It’s not like I meant to misbehave, but it just came naturally to me. I’d tried to be who they wanted; now it was time for me to truly be myself. They say, “Go big or go home,” so why not start out by seducing a rock star? And not just any rock star, the luscious, womanizing Jericho Tyler. Now that was somebody worth sinning for!

Sometimes it takes a bad boy to redeem a good girl. But will she become his Salvation in the end?

I want to start this review with paraphrasing a quote I saw somewhere, “The Love and Chaos series is M.J. Schiller’s way of rocking one fan at a time”. I can testify that each book in this series definitely ‘rocked me’. I’m officially a huge fan of M.J. Schiller and of her “Love and Chaos series”. Technically, each can be read as a standalone, but I’m biased after reading all four. I simply can’t recommend just reading one. That would be like eating one buttery piece of popcorn – impossible. Many people binge watch Netflix. Not me. I binge read, and I guarantee one day I’m going binge read this series now that I have them all.

Rock of Salvation is the fourth and final book in this series. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. It was finally Jericho’s turn to be the hero. Excuse me while I breathe with short, quick breaths, from my excitement over Jericho. Getting to know his character launched butterflies in my stomach multiple times. His stage personality was just that, ‘staged’. The real Jericho was just so “froggy”. When you read the story, you’ll get that innuendo. My speechlessness over Jericho is genuine. Just know that he is a rockstar that has a reputation and is performing when he’s on stage, and then, there is Jericho, the man. The real Jericho is to die for.

I can’t stop smiling as I am now about to talk about the heroine, Salvation Jones. Yes, that is her real name. Of all the character possibilities that M.J. Schiller could have chosen to create for Jericho, she chose a preacher’s daughter. I couldn’t believe it. Yet it was perfectly designed and masterfully executed. My face muscles hurt from smiling. Jericho and Salvation were complete polar opposites and yet they weren’t. The only way to describe them is to compare them to kettle popcorn. One is sweet and one is salty but when you put them together, they are delicious. I read this book in one day because I literally couldn’t stop reading it.

I got to know Jericho and Salvation’s families. Jericho’s was loving, funny and friendly. Salvation’s family fit the stereotypical ‘preacher family’. Some people suggest that there is a “preacher’s kid syndrome”, in which children of clergy reject religion and the church. This view is seen as a stereotype. I’m not debating that thought process one way or another but it’s one of my favorite plots. If you like the movies: Footloose, Dirty Dancing, Grease, Pretty in Pink, and Sixteen Candles, then you understand what I’m trying to explain.

Plot and theme are commonly confused. The plot is the sequence of events in the story. The theme is the message the author is trying to convey. In this book and the previous books in the series, I think the author did an excellent job creating plots that carried the theme of being redeemed and getting second chances. In this story, the hero, Jericho, was a prime example of being redeemed; and the heroine, Salvation, was appropriately named.

Like I said before, technically Rock of Salvation can be read as a standalone. However, Jericho is part of a rock band and in the previous books in the series each member had their own romance story. The rock band, Just Short of Chaos, is their own family unit. Therefore, when I read a story in this series, I feel like I’m part of the family unit. Just like in real life when one person in a family unit gets married the family grows. It has been an honor to be part of this rock group’s community and see them grow and develop.

As I said in the second paragraph, all good things must come to an end but at least I can reread this series as many times as I want to. I hope others will pick up this book and the others before it. It’s an awesome ride! Happy Reading.